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Interview Series Part 4 – Alaina Partridge of The Polished Pinup Parlour

For our fourth interview series, I am quite excited to introduce you to Alaina Partridge of The Polished Pinup Parlour here in Winnipeg. I met Alaina about 18 months ago and was immediately struck by her kind and genuine nature. I remember telling her how much I admired her nail art but that I didn’t think I’d ever get gels and how lovely the lashes were but I can’t stand having people fiddle around my eyes. Well, how times change!  I got my first set of gels in November 2013 and have had them since. I am also considering lashes in the new year. Alaina’s creative nature really shines through in her work. Her attention to detail and perfectionism leave you 100% satisfied. Her warm smile and infectious laughter are bonuses to the experience!

What inspired you to open The Polished Pinup Parlour?

I’ve worked for a few different businesses doing esthetics and never felt the perfect fit, either being rushed, or management caring less about quality than I did. So after I stopped working at my last job, I decided it was time to make my own rules and go out on my own!

Are you formally trained or self-taught?

I am formally trained, I was fortunate to have been able to take the Nail technology course at Miles Macdonell Collegiate, so it didn’t cost me as much as if I had taken it after high school. I graduated with a dual diploma in 2005. After graduating that program, I also took a body sugaring course and received a certificate for that in 2008. In 2012, while working for an educator and supplier, I took a course for Micha Lash extensions and received my certificate of accomplishment, for that. Around that same time, I also went on a trip to Toronto to do an advanced nail Art class, under two internationally acclaimed nail technicians. While working there I also took courses for advanced techniques for sculpturing the perfect nail, and electric file use.

What has been your best source of knowledge in your art?

All of the courses I’ve taken contributed to techniques I use, in addition to the artistic knowledge I’ve gained from a family full of artists, most prominently, my grandmother, a portrait artist, painter, carver, potter, and anything else pertaining to art that she can get her hands on.

Describe your style in one sentence.

My artistic style is ever changing, I don’t ever stick to one style.

What inspires you in your day-to-day?

On a continual basis I get inspiration from all sorts of online sources posting nails and nail art and creating my own take on what I see.

What are your favourite items to make?

My favorite work projects tend to be the more artistic, more detailed work, I like to be challenged. So my favorite things are, doing eyelash extensions with a splash of color, or nails with a lot of hand painted detail.

What projects or goals are you currently working on for The Polished Pinup Parlour?

My main goal in the new year is to focus a little more on advertising. Hopefully do some promotions for the next wedding season.

How do you balance being a mom and a small business owner?

I have chosen to take clients by appointment only. So to some extent I am able to schedule work around my life as a mom. Limiting my evening and weekend work, and taking time off when needed for Christmas concerts and doctor appointments. It is fortunate that I have been able to do that. When little emergencies come up, I take having to cancel or reschedule appointments very seriously, but as a single mother, you have to do what you have to do sometimes. Now engaged, have much more support than when I started out.

What is one thing you’d like your fans to know about you?

I am very open minded, and closed lipped, I am not judgmental at all, so if you come see me, don’t hesitate to talk about anything on your mind.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

To me, the most rewarding thing about what I do is, seeing a big change, such as someone coming in with bitten nails, and over the course of a few appointments, seeing their natural nails grow in. As well as seeing people get excited about the quality of my work, from the construction of the nails, to little details of art, and how natural, the eyelash extensions seem.

Best piece of advice for women looking to open their own small business?

My best piece of advice for women starting their own small business, would be to learn everything you can about what is necessary for you, where you are, legally, from name registration to taxes, before you start. If possible take some type of business course before you start. And have faith in yourself and your business. Don’t give up easily when it is a slow start.

I was very happy to sit down with Alaina to do this interview and hope you enjoy the results!


“Christmas Sweater” Nails
“Matt black and sparkle purple stiletto” nails

Coming Soon: Boutique Pop Up Aylmer

As you likely know, we’ve been a part of the Exchange Uporium pop-up shop in Winnipeg for some time.  Now, we’ll be in a second one in my neighbourhood!  From December 15 – 31, we’ll be featured in a pop up shop in the Galeries d’Aylmer mall, in Aylmer, Quebec.

I’ll be setting up on Sunday night, and I can’t wait to see how it all looks!  We’ll have a great assortment of vendors, just in time for some Christmas shopping.


Boutique Pop Up Aylmer

Exchange Shop Hop – December 11-13 2014

This week in Winnipeg Drakestail Jewellery in The Exchange Uporium will be participating in “The Exchange Shop Hop”. This is a shopping event that a number of shops in the Exchange District are promoting this December.

“The Exchange Shop Hop” will take place on December 11 and 12 from 12-8 pm (some shops open earlier and close later) and December 13 11-6pm.

Shops include:

Hilary Druxman
U.N. Luggage
Tiny Feast
The Haberdashery
84 1/2
Mayberry Fine Art
Tara Davis Studio Boutique
The Foxy Shoppe
Paperdoll Clothing
Rhymes with Orange
Berns and Black
Toad Hall Toys
hut k
Aveda Institute
Exchange Uporium
Photography by Dano Tanaka
The Polished Pinup Parlour

Winnipeg’s historical Exchange District is what caused me to fall in love with this city and want to live here. I highly recommend you take advantage of the shop hop’s special in-store promotions, giveaways (and a grand prize worth over $1500) to get some of your holiday shopping done at these wonderful local shops! We are sure you can find something for everyone on your list.


Exchange Shop Hop Map
Exchange Shop Hop Map


Christmas Craft Fair Season and a Fundraiser

This past Saturday I was at the Heart, Home, and Handmade Indie Craft Fair. Located at the gorgeous Glebe Community Centre, there were over 50 vendors and I had a lovely time looking around and picking up a couple Christmas presents. I even had a lovely visit from a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.

Drakestail at Heart Home and Handmade Indie Craft FairI have only one more show until Christmas. I’ll be at the MAC Fair on December 6th. Regular readers and fans will recognize the name – I’ve participated in the MAC Fair Craft Fair at Immaculata High School for a couple years now, and it’s one of my favourites. It’ll be spectacular again, with over a hundred vendors, all local artists, artisans, and bakers. I always end up buying lots of gifts, and I’m counting on clearing off most of my list there.  🙂  I’m looking forward to closing out the Christmas craft fair season with a bang, so come by and check it out!

In other news, a local dog rescue, Sit With Me, is holding an online silent auction to raise funds. I’ve donated a necklace (you might recognize it as Day 74 from the 100 Day Challenge), and encourage you to visit the auction and make a bid or two. There’s quite a variety of items up for grabs, and it’s for a fantastic cause.

Sit With Me shelter dog rescue-Robyn

Big shows and custom orders

Two Custom Orders by Drakestail Jewellery

I’d like to start off by thanking the organizers of the All Saints craft show for putting on such a fun and well-organized event.  I’d especially like to thank them for putting me between two awesome vendors: Totally Squared had some delicious dessert squares on my right (and I absolutely indulged and feel zero guilt about it), and Hali’s Essentials on my left, which meant I got to enjoy little wafts of scent from her homemade bath and beauty products all day.  It’s a tough life, I tell ya.

My next upcoming show is the Home, Heart, and Handmade Indie Craft Fair.  On November 22nd, this new-to-me show will be at the Glebe Community Centre, and I can’t wait to go.  The vendor line-up is huge and quite varied and I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll get a lot of my own Christmas shopping done there.  I love shopping local and every vendor will have great handmade items to drool over.

In between shows, I’ve had a couple of custom orders to create.  The first was a request for a necklace, meant to be a Christmas gift.  It features soothing smoky quartz and an aquamarine cluster, as well as a stamped charm with the recipient’s name.  This is only my second stamping project and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

My other custom order was a set of beaded pearl hair elastics destined to be accessories for a wedding party.  They are all matching in pale pink, and the elastics are in “blonde” and “brunette” colours to match the wearers’ hair.  They’re going to look gorgeous!


Two Custom Orders by Drakestail Jewellery
A custom necklace with smoky quartz, aquamarine, and name charm, and a set of pink pearl hair elastics for a lovely wedding party!

First show of the season: All Saints CHS Craft Fair

I can’t believe it’s already that time of the year: Christmas craft fair season! Summer seems like just yesterday, and Halloween is still around the corner. The year is flying by.
Drakestail Jewellery will be making its first seasonal craft fair appearance on Saturday, November 1st at the All Saints Catholic High School‘s annual Christmas craft fair. This is a big show, and I’m looking forward to being back again. There will be a great selection of artists and artisans.  There will be a Children’s Corner, where kids can play while parents shop.  There will also be a Coffee House and some terrific raffle prizes!  Funds raised will go towards the school’s Christmas Hamper program.

Come on out and pick up some great handmade, unique items for your favourite people on your list, and yourself!

Visit our Facebook Event for details, or click on the show in the calendar on the right!

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